Rancière’s rational equality against Edelman’s body apolitic
Lee Edelman’s recent queer theory polemic against ‘reproductive futurism’ seeks to align his project against all reason and against all politics. This paper argues that to write from ‘the space outside the framework within which politics as we know it appears and so outside the conflict of visions that share as their presupposition that the body politic must survive’ as Edelman puts it, involves deliberately superimposing various ‘political’ categories with various non-political categories. Thus Edelman elides democracy with the Child, rationality with a naïve concept of progress, and heterosexuality (straightforwardly) with reproduction in a bid to ward off the threat of collective organisation and action. Against Edelman’s attempt to rid thought of all politics, Rancière’s conception of politics will be presented as capable of avoiding many of the main targets of Edelman’s attack, as not being committed to a notion of politics that is based on reproduction, but is nevertheless ‘rational’ in a specific way. The paper will also draw on empirical historical examples of certain left-wing and alternative political movements, such as early kibbutzim, collectives and groups that explicitly refused reproduction, but that nevertheless were most definitely political, and quite often ‘queer.’
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© borderlands ejournal 2009